By CHARLIE A. AGATEP
When William Cameron Forbes was governor-general of the Philippines in 1905, the main concern of the Americans was not how to deal with the fierce Filipino fighters who continued to resist colonization, but rather how to escape from the infernal heat of Manila.
ONE CENTAVO PER SQUARE METER
That’s why Forbes ordered the construction in Baguio of a grass-roofed structure with natural home turf surroundings to prompt the installation of a country club where families could enjoy recreational activities in the coolness of the Cordillera mountains.
Forbes had the land in Baguio surveyed a year later and opened this for sale to private parties to hasten the development of the place. A suitable site was then determined for the Baguio Country Club (BCC). To raise the incredible sum of P3,200 to purchase the over 32 hectares of land for the club (one centavo per square meter), it was decided to form the Baguio Country Club Corporation to purchase the land and lease it to the club. Out of 21 subscribed shares at P100 per share, Governor Forbes bought five shares. The other subscribers were all Americans with an average of one share each. Benguet governor William F. Park was elected the first president of the BCC.
No one ever dreamed at that time that the window-less, door-less hut with a three-hole mini golf course in the middle of nowhere would stand the test of time and become the premier staycation in the country’s summer capital. Today, 114 years later, the Baguio Country Club is acknowledged as the most prestigious membership club in the City of Baguio, with a Triple-A rating from the Department of Tourism and the only mountain resort in the Philippines with a five-star rating.
Proprietary membership value in the club has become highly attractive.
By the end of 2018, BCC’s market value per share grew to P3.2 million from P580,000 in 2009 jumping by 451.7 percent in nine years.
The club’s book value per share also grew from P252,700 in 2009 to P319,300 by the end of 2018, an increase of 26.36 percent. This marks the first time that the BCC’s market value per share exceeded its book value per share since 2009.
A HUNDRED YEARS OF CHANGE
From just an open hut with primitive fixtures, BCC now boasts of a complex of facilities that can meet the wide variety of recreational and business requirements by its members. Proprietary members get exclusive access to athletic facilities, including an 18-holes championship golf course where they hold the prestigious annual Men’s Fil-Am Invitational Tournament, the longest running tournament in the country, an eight-lanes automated bowling, modern Crossfit gym, tennis and squash courts, crystal clear swimming pool, ping-pong, and a new Adventure Mini Golf for beginners and skilled golfers as well.
BCC also has a beauty salon that offers a variety of cosmetic treatments and services for men and women, including professional hair cutting and styling, manicures and pedicures, and makeup and makeovers.
The latest BCC facility is the Cordillera Convention Hall, which has a floor area of 1,646 square meters and can accommodate up to 1,400 people. This makes it an ideal venue for large-scale events, such as weddings, seminars, conferences, and product brand exhibits. Another new BCC facility is an arena where up to 14 people at a time can play with Nerf, a popular line of kid-friendly toy blasters; an Agincourt archery range, where participants can learn the basics of archery; and a library where members and guests can access the board game lounge and movie room.
WIDER GASTRONOMIC HORIZONS
A look at any list of the best raisin bread in the Philippines will show that BCC is on top. BCC is determined to replicate this feat with more of their new offers, including the General’s Burger, a one-kilogram Batangas beef patty burger complete with caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, grilled bacon, and Emmental cheese.
At the Hamada Ramen Nook, one of the restaurants at BCC, the club now offers four new ramen flavors: The Emperor’s Tonkotsu Bowl, The Ronin’s Spicy Miso Bowl, The Samurai’s Shoyu Bowl, and The Shogun’s Special, all made with the finest Cordillera ingredients.
At the Cotterman dining room, guests can indulge in a selection of premium steaks such as Pine-grilled steak, Meltique Beef, Angus Beef, and Wagyu Beef. There is also the new BCC Potato Chips and BCC Chocolate bars that can be had in nine flavors. Both are available in all dining facilities and specialty stores at BCC.